Inspired once again

The Vancouver Giants' Acceptance Day never fails to inspire me. 

Ever since the Vancouver Canucks did a documentary on me and my story went public, many people have told me that I am an inspiration to them.

 In fact, when I went to watch WWE's Monday Night Raw live in Everatt at the Xfinity Arena, one of the event hosts came up to me after the show.

“Hey! I saw you on the Internet!” the man said. “Are you the guy in that Canucks video?”

“Yeah,” I said, with a grin. “How are ya?” 

“I'm great,” he said. “You a wrestling fan?” 

“Yeah, since I was a little guy.” 

“That's awesome,” he replied. “Man, I didn't know you were going to be down here. You have a lot of people who love you down here.” 

“Thanks a lot, man,” I said. “I really appreciate that.” 

“I really want to ask you for a photo and sign something,” he said. “But I didn't come with a pen and I'm working. I'd get in trouble if my boss sees me taking a photo.”

“All good,” I said, with a laugh. 

He escorted me to the elevator and told me, “Let someone know the next time you are in the building!”

“I will,” I said.

With the number of times that I've been recognized in public by someone who follows my work or has seen the documentary, it makes me feel extremely grateful.

 That being said, I have never really understood why people view me as an inspirational figure.

 I mean, I guess I do. But, at the same time, I don't.

I love hockey. I love what I do, and it just so happens that I'm good at it and I have a physical disability. 

That doesn't make me any more special than anyone else. I'm just a regular guy who is passionate about his job.

I don't see myself as an inspiration.

However, on Feb. 21, I came across someone who truly is. 

The Giants were scheduled to play host to the Victoria Royals on that day. 

The game was at noon, because the Giants were going to have their annual flash mob in the second period in support of anti-bullying day. More than 5,000 students from schools all over the Lower Mainland were expected to be in attendance. 

I knew what was going on beforehand. Quite frankly, after being a part of the Giants organization since the idea was first pitched, the surprise and anticipation of the flash mob was gone for me.

 The message, though, is a great one.

I got to the office around 9:30 a.m. I usually do laps around the rink, but not this time. 

“Hey Elvis!” Mike Charters, the senior ticketing director, said. 

I don't know why he calls me that. It's likely because of my hairstyle.

“Why aren't you doing your laps?” 

“I'm day-to-day with a lower-body injury,” I explained. “I hurt my tailbone.” 

“Your knee?” he asked, and then looked down at them.

“No!” I said. “My tailbone.”

“Oh. I thought you said your knees,” he said. “You should be sitting down. Want some Advil or something? No sense in being in pain.” 

“No thanks,” I said. “I'm good. I'll be fine.”

I knew the injury was minor, and I'm extremely careful about what I put in my body. The reason I didn't do my laps was because I didn't want the injury to worsen.

When it came close to game time, I went up to the press box.

People were asking me if I was excited for the flash mob. It wasn't something that I hadn't seen before, and I didn't expect to see anything new.

Or so I thought.

 

 Over 5000 students taking part in a flashmob (Chris J Relke

Over 5000 students taking part in a flashmob (Chris J Relke

Prior to puck drop, a video was played.

 It was about Dan Caro, someone who was in a fire at two years of age and nearly lost his life. He got burns over 80 per cent of his body. 

I was shocked. 

Once the video ended, a spotlight came on. It was on Caro, and he was playing the drums, something about which he is passionate.

 He then gave a brilliant speech about standing up against bullies.

I was amazed.

The energy in the building was the highest it had been all season. The children were given towels to wave around, which made it feel like a playoff game.
 It was a great sight. 

Vancouver lost 5-2 to the Royals, which put a damper on things.

But one thing is for sure — people left it feeling inspired. 

People like Caro are true examples of inspiration . . . not me.